Integrated studies
The revolution in high schools

Educational systems around the world are rapidly coming to the conclusion that the traditional high school in particular is out of date.
Traditionally, high school breaks "subjects" up into 40 or 45-minute periods, in which one specialist mathematics teacher covers math for well under an hour and then a specialist science or social studies teacher covers science or social studies for the same time.

But life is not like that. Every day for instance, approximately 10,000 scientific research papers or articles are published. No science teacher in the world can keep up to date with that reading, let alone keep students fully up to date.

So more and more schools are now looking at how to "integrate" studies so that students cover many "subjects" at once, as part of research teams.

One of the best breakthroughs has come in the South Pacific nation of New Zealand, at Freyberg High School in Palmerston North. There Massey University, the school itself and IBM have combined to produce effective integrated studies programs.

At any one week, you are more likely to find students out on extensive field trips than working in a traditional classroom. And when they do come back into a classroom to coordinate results, they will generally do that in project teams, working on computers, so that computer studies, too, is not separated from real life. In this way, they resemble more a modern business than a traditional secondary school. Modern business nearly always revolves around integrated specialists, both self-acting and working in groups.

The information revolution now integrates that specialist work. And it is this real-world that now demands an integrated approach to schooling.

The Freyberg High School experiment has been so successful that the entire school curriculum now revolves around integrated studies. The world's biggest-selling book of the moment, The Learning Revolution, by Gordon Dryden and Jeannette Vos, covers the project in depth and its impressive results.


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